Wednesday, August 31, 2011

take a peek

at my august do. good stitches blocks!



won't this be an amazing rainbow quilt?!  monochromatic blocks made from 1.5" x 4.5" strips.  what a great scrap busting project!

and once again, coming in right at the deadline - what is wrong with me?!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

free motion quilting

finally, i figured it out!  i've tried several times to free motion quilt on my brother machine - and since i've never done it before, didn't know if the problem was me, my machine, or both.  every time i tried, i ended up with snarls of thread on the backside - and you know me, if things aren't going well, i toss it aside.

turns out, i need to leave my feed dogs uncovered.  who knew?  and i still need lots of practice to get a smooth line, but i am so excited!! 





and i need lots of practice!  some of my muslin backing bunched up.  maybe i should have spray basted it?  i didn't do much pinning, because i can't walk and chew gum at the same time and i was focusing on quilting - figured i'd run over a pin and break my needle. 

i'm planning to practice on some mini quilts - mug rugs, doll quilts, whatever you want to call them.  anyone have any tips for me?  do i need the non slip gloves?  i think i'll be spending a lot of time with leah day.  it'll be awhile before i'm ready to try it on an actual quilt.

not much else going on around here.  zach starts preschool this week.  i appliqued a superman logo onto a tee, and i'd like to make him another pair of shorts.  he's already outgrowing the sponge bob ones i made him earlier in the summer.  and i'm working on piecing the back for emma's rail fence quilt.  i'm going to take it to a real quilter - first time ever!  the top's been done for what, 2 years now?  i'm trying out the happy crafters in osawatomie ks.  i'm thinking about either the ruffles or cotton candy pattern.

have a great labor day weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

grab a tissue

andrea, one of the gals in the fabulous kcmqg,  recently became a nurse at st. luke's hospital.  during rounds at the hospital, she was struck by the tiny fetal demise bags.  they were scratchy and plain.  i had never realized they even existed, but once it was explained, it made me (and several others) tear up.  basically, when mothers go into premature labor and their babies are stillborn, these pouches are used. because these babies are super tiny, there's no clothing that will possibly fit their small, fragile bodies. the pouches are put on the babies so their families can hold them and spend time with them without them being naked or uncovered.  (definition by amber h.) andrea thought we could make something so much more beautiful and special for the families that were hurting.

so she brought it to jacquie, who agreed it would be an excellent charity project for the guild.  they contacted anna maria horner and free spirit fabrics and they graciously donated beautiful fabrics for the guild to use.  alex created a pattern for us to use, and several guild members got together and created little kits for us to take.  thanks to everyone for all the work they've put into this project.

image, pouch, and pattern by teaginnydesigns

i finally was able to attend a meeting this month, and brought home two kits to sew.  i am waiting for a moment when i am alone and able to focus all my attention to sew, i think those wee babies deserve that.  once again, i realize how enormously blessed and lucky i am to have four healthy children in my life. 

if you or your guild wants to help, you can read more about the project here and here and also get the pdf pattern alex created.  last i heard, st. luke's hospital wanted to expand this to include other kc area hospitals. thanks again to everyone involved in making this happen. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

finally...

i just finished piecing my synchronized squares quilt top!  i'm a little behind on the quilt along (snort!), but a little ahead on my holiday decor.



i had planned to back this with some red and black plaid flannel from granny marie's stash, without any batting, just tying it.  now, i'm thinking it will be too heavy with flannel.  the extra layer of fabric makes it weighty already.

instead of layer cakes like the pattern suggests, i used a bunch of 4" and 5" charms from  swaps i've done.  i did mess up a few times and got my squares flipped or mixed up during sewing.  i am sort of *particular* about the same fabrics being next to one another - so i ripped out some stitches to fix it.

i can't wait to finish and wash it though, and see the edges fray and curl on the squares!

now i'm going to veg on the couch, under my quilt top, and watch mad men.  it's new to netflix and i'm hooked.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

call to action!


i've been a member of the do. good stitches flickr bee for a couple of months now.  i'm in the inspire group, but love seeing what the other groups make.   natalie in the hope group planned a fun I-Spy quilt using AMH's joseph's square in a square block, and she had so much interest in it she's organized a block drive benefitting her local NICU!  if you would like to donate a block or two (or more!), please go read what you can do to help!   i have a bunch of 5 inch novelty squares, i will have to try to make one.

here's one of my august blocks for the inspire group:


4 monochromatic shades is proving more difficult than i thought.  most of my stash fabrics have several colors in them.  the only way i was able to do this block was by using the back side of the two darker fabrics to make the lighter.  it works, though.  they look like shot cotton.

what are you working on?

Friday, August 19, 2011

have you heard of wildtree?

i'm not a big fan of home parties.  after living in a small town where a week didn't go by without a pampered chef, stampin' up, party lite, silpada, or mary kay party that i had to attend, i swore off attending any more when we moved.

then my sis-in-law amy started selling wildtree.  and we went to her house for a tasting party.  and you know me, i love to stuff my face.  everything i've tried is so good!  i especially love the hot chili pepper and garlic dip.  troy likes their rancher steak rub and chipotle lime rub.  anyways, the prices are comparable to buying name brand spices in the store.


in july, they had a special where you could buy the business builder kit for $49(normally $99).  so i signed up with amy, and my big box of goodies came yesterday.

this is a 24" wide drawer, and it's stuffed full!
 besides all those full size items, i got all these host samples too! so far, i've made beer bread and alfredo sauce - just add liquids, mix, and you're ready to cook!  for $65, we got all that food, including several bottles of grapeseed oil.  which troy prefers for grilling, something about it has a higher smoke point?  even at the full price, it's still a good deal.

i have zero plans to sell anything, or make my friends host parties, but i am so excited to have all these mixes in the pantry, and get 20% off!  i'm going to give all the catalogs and stuff to amy to use, but if you're interested in buying something, go to amy's website and check it out!

WINNING

it's that time again. where i brag and show off the great loot i won. so grab a cuppa and don't hate. ;)

after entering a zillion different times on a million different sites, i finally won a downeast giveaway from sew dang cute!






i got to choose any top, and i picked the beautiful girl top in elephant.




it shipped super fast and i can't wait to wear it! i'm thinking, skinny jeans, wedge sandals, and a chunky choker. thanks tam!

i was super lucky and won the terrain jelly roll strips that nikki was giving away! the colors are splendid.  nikki's quilt is a beauty.  she shared it at the last kcmqg meeting. 


nikki, thanks for the vintage sheet fabric too! i'm not sure yet what i'll make with my strips!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

cleanin' out my closet

i've been super busy with a "spring into fall" cleaning frenzy.  one load of toys and clothes donated, one load of books donated, and next is a trip to recycling.  the pantry is looking fab, so are the closets!  and we rearranged some furniture to prepare for the bedroom remodel - so our master bedroom finally feels put together.  but i still have piles of things to sort through, and some shelf paper to put down.

after my spider bite, it seemed important to give everything a good top to bottom wipe down.  i haven't found many spiders (3 so far), definitely not what i thought i might!  (we watch a little too much billy the exterminator around here - alex's fave show! - and i had nightmares of an entire brown recluse village lurking around)  thank goodness because i'm a little skittish of spiders right now.  the bite is still healing, but getting better! 

during my cleaning, i pulled out a storage bag under the guest bed with three quilts inside!  i got them washed up and they are ready for their new home in the linen closet, but first, show and tell.



this one is a quilt my dad's mom, grandma neppl gave me.  she also made a matching quilt in blue, which she gave to my cousin stephanie.   the blue quilt won a ribbon at the fair, if i remember right.


the hand quilting is amazing.  i am terrible at HQ and can't make my stitches the same size.  so i may be easily impressed ;)

the second is stunning, in a different way.  this quilt was given to troy and i for our wedding 2002.  it was made by the same person, grandma neppl.



i was really dismayed at the condition of the quilt.  the construction is sloppily done, and the binding, besides being a poor color match, is very messily added.  there is even a hole in one of the seams, apparently missed all together while stitching. the needlework must have been done previously, as it's skillfully crafted. all those french knots!



bear with me - i'm so not criticizing - just commenting on the difference between the two quilts.  and that is so stinking sad and awesome at the same time.

because when i'm in my eighties, i hope i'm still pushing the pedal on the sewing machine.  even if the end result is less than stellar, she was still creating!   that's how i want to be, give 'em hell long as i'm breathin', keep kickin' ass in the mornin', an' takin' names in the evening.

and now i have watched first hand my 92 year old nana have to give up crafting, and it's really hard for her. i get a real sense of "time ran out on my crafty to-do list" talking to her.  she's saddened by the things she'll never get made.  so i will take apart the quilt, and reset the blocks in a manner that does them justice and honor, blue ribbon worthy.

 

ok, enough deep thoughts, let me leave you with the third quilt.  this one is simply yummy.  i'll have to get the history from my mom again, but i think my grandma lawson made it, and it's all knit fabric.  it's so amazing to snuggle with, and the colors are perfect!  the tying was a good choice for this quilt, since it gives it the ability to stretch with the knits.  i need to patch it in a few spots, but seriously, i'm considering only making quilts with knits from now on.  they feel that good.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

make a splash

hard to believe, but sawyer will be one year old soon!



he shares his birthday month with two cousins, ava and claire.  it's been miserably hot here, so we decided to have their birthday party at the pool.  of course, the day of the party, it was a lot cooler and rained off and on all day, but the weather held out, yay! 



we rented the public pool from 6:30-8:00.  next time we will definitely rent it for more people, it's huge.  (and there were so many more people i wanted to invite)!  it's a nice pool, with slides and play stuff.  the kids were super excited!



troy's already talking about doing it again next summer.  the best part?  not having to clean our house for the party.

i had some ideas for a theme, but turned to pinterest to get inspired!  and aesthetic nest came through just in time with printable decorations (free in august!), saving me loads of time trying to design my own.


i used her pdf for loot bag tags and cupcake toppers.  i also put a few on a bunting, but it was windy and i didn't want it to blow in the pool, so i didn't even hang it up.  isn't that the way it goes?



grow your own sea creature capsules, water guns, candy, and leis for the party favor bags.  for the baby guests, i got squirt bath toys and little board books, along with whale crackers.



the loot bags are just large lunch sacks with the circles glue dotted on - note to self, buy a circle punch.  seriously.



i made rainbow batter cupcakes, chocolate chip cupcakes and clam cookies, made from voortman shortbread cookies, icing, and yogurt raisins.


fresh fruit and vegetables, hummus dip, chips and salsa, crackers and cheese to snack on.  thanks to my sis-in-laws for taking care of all that!! i had planned to take a lot more pictures, but spent most of the party in the pool with sawyer.  he loves the water!

Friday, August 5, 2011

moving along

finished my do. good stitches blocks for july.  hoping to start on my august blocks today -  tired of running behind all the time!





and i started working on a project inspired by a tute i saw a few days back but can't find right now.  i need a coverup for sundays pool party, something to hide my spider bite(which is looking better, finally), and thought this might work out.  but as a dress, it's a bit too baggy around the chest.  not sure yet if i want to keep it as is (for a skirt) or try to take in the top. 



a couple other things to note - i used two different brand new tees from troy's closet (he didn't like them).  a grey stripe with side seams, and a red tube style knit.  which of course, means there are seams on the grey but not the red part.  i'll run a side seam down the entire thing to hide that fact.  i'd also like to do some topstitching to define the red stripes.  there's a little bubble effect going on at each seam, noticeable to me anyways.



we have sawyer's pool party this weekend, so i'm going to be busy making decorations and cupcakes for that!  can't wait to share pics, it's going to be so fun!  i love my little man!  he's walking now - can you believe it?!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

tiered stand

here's my take on the DIY tiered stand!


i bought the two plates at target on clearance (75 cents each?), and the wooden candlestick at the thrift shop for a quarter.


fun, mod, shiny, but maybe not my style so much. i thought about painting the wood, but i sort of like it with the b & w.  we'll see.  i put the narrow end on the bottom plate to leave more room for snacks.  because that's the whole idea, right?  a place for snacks?


in case you've missed the zillion other how to's  online, you just glue the candle holder to the plate on each end.  i love the idea of vintage state plates for this.  i always want to buy them when i find them, but i just don't have the right project for them.  until now, maybe...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

terrain giveaway

hey kids! want to win some kate spain?! of course you do.

stop by my friend Nikki's blog and leave her some comment love! be sure to check out her etsy shop too - she sells vintage sheets there, perfect for quilt backings!

nikki is such a sweetheart and makes tons of quilts.  we "met" in the bee vintage flickr group, and she convinced me to come to the kcmqg, for which i'm super thankful.

edited to add:  ANOTHER awesome giveaway!  my friend sara at growing stitches has a great giveaway going on too!  a mag subscription and a charm pack of ruby!!  good luck!


and because i don't like posts to not have any pics, here's a little something i finished for emma's hair bows!  super easy!  i used an old frame we had, covered the glass with batting and fabric, cut some ric-rac, and voila, a cute bow holder!

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